Embracing experiences

Embracing experiences

Jazz and blues

Embracing experiences

These 12-year-old bands from Goa have featured some of the finest national and international artistes but founder Colin D’Cruz says the best is yet to come. ‘Jazz Junction’ and ‘Blues Power’ brim with energy, enthusiasm and vitality that becomes evident as soon as they take over the stage.

The two have graced venues across the country and have headlined acts on the
occasion of ‘International Jazz Day’ and ‘International Blues Day’.

The bands were recently in the city to perform for the fourth edition of the International Jazz and Blues Festival. While ‘Jazz Junction’ gave a scintillating performance with Jason Quadros on keyboards, Gerard Machado on guitar, Olga Andreeva on vocals, Colin D’Cruz on bass and Matteo Fraboni on drums, ‘Blues Power’ stole the show with Herman Abreo on vocals, harp and guitar and Elvis Lobo on guitar along with Colin and Matteo, who are members of this band too.

Between their acts, Colin took time off to chat with Anushree Agarwal about their journey and what makes them click. 

How did the bands start?
I’ve been playing different genres of music and at any given point of time in my career, I’ve been playing with at least four or five bands. I wanted to experience different forms of music and jazz and blues always topped my list of favourites. That’s the reason I formed both these bands in Goa in 2004.
I used to live in Mumbai and when I moved to Goa, I realised there were
musicians from all over the world visiting the place.
These bands were actually created with the intention to feature such artistes. And that’s the reason both the bands have always had floating lineups.

What best describes the music of the bands?
It’s the spontaneity. We generally rehearse a framework for a song but on stage
anything can happen within that framework; there are a lot of open spaces for improvisation. While ‘Blues Power’ is more of a guitar-sounding band, ‘Jazz Junction’ has
always featured saxophone and piano players so it’s more of a saxophone-sounding band.
The most important thing about performing live is emoting so I make sure the musicians who perform are capable of expressing their own emotions in whatever songs we play. We also try to write music along both the genres and perform our own originals besides the classics.

How has the journey been so far?
Very interesting and exciting! As a permanent member, I’ve seen a lot of great music and musicians flow through both the bands. Very often, I have world-renowned musicians playing with us. Presently, there is a one-time Grammy nominated drummer playing with both the bands — Matteo Fraboni from Italy. Having musicians like him automatically raises the bar for everyone.

An unforgettable experience.
Most of our acts have been memorable. However, this one time a saxophone player from the USA, Dr Mtafiti Imara, had come over to Goa. He saw ‘Jazz Junction’ playing, came on stage with his saxophone and played and sounded as though he had been playing with the band all his life. After that, he came quite often as he knew there was a band he could play with in Goa.

How do you find the crowd for jazz and rock in Bengaluru?
I’ve been playing here for a long time now as part of other bands. I’ve noticed that the audience is very passionate and they’re actually there to listen to music. It’s very similar to the audience in Goa. They are very appreciative of all genres, open-minded and genuine music lovers.

A place you’d love to play at.
‘The Baked Potato’, a small nightclub in Los Angeles, which features legends in jazz, rock and hip hop artistes on a regular basis.

When not occupied with music...
I like watching movies and sports and football is my favourite. Generally, each one has their own little thing besides music. Matteo likes sailing and he hopes to get his licence to actually captain a yacht soon!

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